Q&A with Anthony Nicalo

December 14, 2008.

Each week, Scout poses 60 questions to a local who has made life in BC that much more interesting. They pick and choose. The minimum response is 20 answers. A Rorschach test, for sure…

A chef by trade, Anthony Nicalo has spent his lifetime examining the connection between fine food and its farmed roots. Now, he carefully chooses exquisite, naturally farmed wines from small sustainable farms to include in the Farmstead Wines selection. The delicious wine in every bottle that bears the Farmstead seal meets a rigorous certification program, ensuring that each wine is not only naturally farmed and handcrafted, but is made with truly sustainable practices. These are rare, artisan wines of world class quality and consistency. To learn more, visit http://www.farmsteadwines.com.


Three things about your neighbourhood that make you want to live there: Moccia, Donald’s Market, and short drive to Cioffi’s.

Sexiest fashion item for the opposite sex: I’ve always liked the look of a men’s button down in the morning.

Favourite wine varietal: depends on what I am eating, but usually something with varietal character, balanced, un-spoofulated with nice acidity. Nebbiolo and Riesling are good bets.

One thing you’d like to change about Vancouver: People who are friendly but not nice. You don’t have to fake it just because you are on the West Coast. There are too many authentic, nice people in Vancouver to let the phonies have a say.

Bartender who could sell you anything: I don’t usually require a hard sell.

Cheap place for dinner: Nuevo Leon. Whenever I am in Chicago, I eat there at least once. They make their own tortillas and the lengua lampreada is fantastic. And it is BYOB!

Book you’re reading: Hot, Flat & Crowded by Thomas Friedman, Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki and The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. I simply cannot read one book at a time.

Last place traveled: Mexico. My wife was there for work and if I didn’t go it would have been over a month since I saw her. On the way, I met someone from the Austrian Embassy in Mexico City that wants to import Austrian wine- nice bonus.

Cliche that you use too often:
Wine is grown, not made. But I don’t think it has quite reached full-on cliche status because I am usually the only one saying it.

Dead film actor you wish was still making pictures: Al Pacino. I know, I know, but the 70s and 80s version has left the building.

Best sneaker in the world: Seriously? We figured out 20 years ago that it wasn’t cool to make sneakers in sweat shops, but we happily drink wine sprayed with loads of chemicals and processed with powders, enzymes and industrial yeasts. Our standards for things we eat and drink should be at least as high as what we wear on our feet.

Your ancestry: American Mutt (Russian, danish, french, english, german) but everyone thinks I am Italian

Your paternal grandfather’s personal story: Paternal grandfather? Mediocre father, mediocre grandfather, lived long time. My maternal grandfather is another story. Papa Bill was brilliant, hardworking, salt-of-the-earth, good father, fantastic grandfather, died young.

Sport you gave up: I still haven’t completely given up soccer. And don’t plan to – goalkeepers can play a long time.

The number of fist fights you’ve been in: I’ve broken up a number of them. A kid punched me in 5th grade, but I just told him he should walk away quickly.

Cologne/Perfume you loathe: Too much of anykind. Especially at restaurants, wine tastings, etc.

The dish you’re most proud of: A few years ago, I made dinner for a friend and a girl he liked. The menu was my usual seasonal, simple approach. It worked. The objective of any chef should be to cook so well that you actually get other people laid.

Old television shows you can tolerate re-runs of: My lovely mother-in-law turned me on to Allo-Allo. I find it hilarious.

First memory: Planting seeds in my Papa Bill’s acre garden and driving the tractor with my Grandma Judy sitting on the back. I would always try to hit the bumps.

Album that first made you love music: Run DMC “Raising Hell”

Default junk food of choice: Wine, cured meats, cheese.

Biggest hope: Changing the way the world thinks about farming, food and agriculture. We will never be sustainable until we regain our respect and connection to the land. And sustainable is not just some green marketing bullshit, it is the ability of planet Earth to sustain human life.


photo: Pete Roggeman


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